Arguably, no other car can go against its reputation wade through Mustang as a popular pony car. From its debut in 1965 to the present day, the Mustang has become an American muscle icon. The next generation of Mustang is rumored to be fully electric, which could surprise V8 fans.
If you’re still not ready to switch from combustion engine to battery and are missing the good old days, opting for a used Mustang could be a viable option. With its distinctive design, the fourth-generation Mustang can be an excellent choice for those looking for an iconic, powerful and slightly nostalgic sports car.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the worst year of the fourth generation Mustang, its reliability, and everything you need to know before finalizing your purchase.
Beware of Extensive Overhauls For Used Ford Mustangs
According to Car Complaint website, the 1999, 2002, and 2004 models had the most complaints overall in the fourth generation Mustang.
Some 1999 Mustang owners have complained of a rattling sound coming from the exhaust when accelerating. Most of the owners were unable to find a permanent solution to this problem, while some other owners managed to eliminate the noise by installing a heat shield on the exhaust. On average, owners have spent $650 to fix this problem.
Several owners mentioned that the 1999 Mustang failed to start the engine intermittently. Fortunately the problem can be eliminated by repairing the ignition antenna connected to the lock.
2002 Mustang owners complain about engine reacting to acceleration slower than it should and spark plugs popping out of cylinder. Nearly 40 reports registered with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) echo these concerns.
“The motor keeps popping spark plugs from cylinders 7 & 8. 8 was fixed, but now the 7 needs to be fixed. It’s a burden, and Ford should replace and fix this problem because it’s a manufacturing issue, not the customer or owner’s fault,” one owner quoted in their post on Car Complaints.
Another widespread problem on the 2002 Ford Mustang is the paint peeling and peeling on the different panels, especially on the hood. The problem doesn’t seem to concern any particular color. The Car Complaint Report mentions black and sonic blue. The owner had to spend about $700 to repaint the hood. The 2004 Ford Mustang was also plagued with a similar paint problem.
Owners of a 2004 Mustang equipped with a convertible roof complained of rainwater leaking into the cabin.
“Water appears to be leaking between where the glass window joins the vinyl top of the convertible. It’s just a slow drip leak, but if left unattended in heavy rain, the liner behind the rear seats fills with water. Which isn’t great because all the stereo amplifiers for Mach audio systems are right below it,” said the 2004 Mustang owner in November 2013.
Like the 2002 model, the 2004 Mustang also had a blown spark plug problem. Additionally, owners have complained that the brakes don’t work properly and the matt curls behind the gas pedal, causing acceleration problems.
Regular Maintenance Will Extend Mustang Life To 200,000 Miles
According to various online car sources, the fourth-generation Ford Mustang should have no problem reaching 200,000 miles with proper maintenance. However, if you are a third or fourth owner, you should expect significant engine and transmission improvements if the car has a mileage of more than 100,000 miles on the odometer.
Mustangs are not usually driven every day. So 200,000 miles should translate to over 20 years of reliable service as long as you follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. Some of the important services include:
- Every 3,000 miles: check the power steering fluid, automatic transmission fluid and oil filter levels.
- Every 6,000 miles: service the battery, replace the windshield wiper blade, and rotate the tire.
- Every 15,000 miles: replace the hoses under the hood, check the cooling and fuel system, and check the rear differential lubrication level.
- Every 30,000 miles: replace the air filter, change the brake fluid, and inspect the engine drive belt, ignition system components, and PCV valves.
- Every 60,000 miles: replace spark plugs and lubricate rear differential.
According to the RepairPal website, the maintenance of this Mustang will cost around $700 per year, reasonable for a 20 year old sports car.
The Fourth Generation Mustang Offers The Perfect Combination Of Power And Nostalgia
If you are looking for a car that can take you back to the early 00s, the Ford Mustang is the perfect choice for you. Buying these cars on the used market can be tricky; that’s why you should be very careful before spending money on it.
Avoiding the 1999, 2002, and 2004 models would be a safer bet. Many owners complain about expensive repairs associated with this year’s model. Last but not least, be sure to have the car checked by a trusted mechanic regardless of the model year you choose.